Poetry

December 15, 2010

I wrote a poem because I could not figure out how to get a map on here. Sorry.

The City

The city is gritty, dark, and hard.
The subways rumble on and on.
The rats scurry as the people overflow
Onto the station and up to the show.

 

Outsiders look up, locals look straight.
The vendors haggle, the hookers wait.
The traffic rushes scornful of the streets
Disfigured and littered with a million moving feet.

 

And yet the congregations grow.
Worldly masses turn and flow
To money as muslims do to Mecca.
And pilgrims walk amidst the glimpses of gods in Tribeca.


Unemployment Post Reflection

December 13, 2010

Sabrina Thomas

English 379

Professor Lee

Final Project

Unemployment

The Unemployment rate is now 9.8%. Almost 10 percent of the population is unemployed, and a recovery it seems to be nowhere in sight. Yes, the government says they see a slight decrease in the number of people that are applying for unemployment benefits. Big deal. That is not really helping the economy as a whole and getting the people back to work.

I chose to do my project on unemployment because I was receiving unemployment benefits for the 2008 year. I lost my job and had no money saved at all. Yes, you should always save money for a rainy day, but I was young and felt that buying sneakers was more important. Being on unemployment was a difficult time because every week, you were not sure if they were going to cut it off. Imagine playing Russian roulette every week, not knowing if you were going to strike out. If that time will be your last “go around.” Sounds dramatic, but it is true. I had small bills to worry about, cell phone, and metro card. The two million people that are on unemployment do not have those small luxuries. They are dealing with mortgagees, child care and feeding their families.

Every time I log into my Yahoo email, I am bombarded with a new revealing about the unemployment crisis. Today on Yahoo, it says that hundreds of people have defrauded the state of Connecticut, by collecting unemployment benefits that they do not deserve. State labor officials mailed notices to over 800 people, giving them 60 days to repay or prove that they do not owe the money. This is one of the negative aspects of people who receive help from the government. Not everyone is looking for a quick scam, so people are just trying to make it to the next day and need that money to survive. I would be absolutely naïve to believe that everyone is a saint and people do not cheat the government and find ways to “get over.” No, I live in reality and know that people do things because they think that they will not get caught.

So with my project I decided to bring awareness to the people that are on unemployment and the services that are available to them. It was tough because the subject is so vast and the people that work in the unemployment buildings are not the nicest. Actually I think the people that work there and the DMV are related, but there are many services available even if you are not on the benefits to get people working again.

When I went to, Christ Church of God in Christ Jesus located on South Road, Jamaica Queens, to witness their soup kitchen and pantry. They no longer serve hot food because of the constant arguing over portion sizes and food running out more quickly. Every Monday and Wednesday morning, a line starts at 6 am to receive one bag full of canned goods. The bag usually consists of canned vegetables (white potatoes, corn, string beans) Raman noodles, and Vienna sausage. Yvonne Stennett, who talked to briefly said that she has seen an increase of the unemployed coming down because the government has also started to cut back on food stamps. She told me 

of one elderly lady who only receives $25 a month. That is obviously not a lot of money and would not be able to feed any one nutritiously.

I talked to another woman Rosa who spoke very little English. I could barely understand her because her Spanish accent was so prominent. She also had two young children; they had to be under five, with her. Mrs. Stennett told me she said she had three other children and comes every week. She also told me she does not want her children to learn English first because she wants them to preserve their culture. This made me think of readings that we had in class, such as Jose Rizal’s Noli Mi Tangere and Noenoe Silva’s Aloha Betrayed, centered on the theme of preserving culture. You can tell how much the woman really loved her family and felt that was the way to protect them. This brings up the degree of assimilation and wanting to hold on to cultural ties. No one wants to lose the true essence of who you are, and for some people, that would be the case if they adopt a new language. It was really weird for me being there in a room mostly full of poverty. I felt connected, a bond with them because I had cultural ties. I felt connected but at the same time distant because we lead two different lives.

When Professor Lee, put us in groups, it was only me and Natalie that day. We talked about our projects; she was doing domestic violence and needed to narrow down her focus a bit more. She gave me great feedback on what I could do better and what handouts I should give. I also got great feedback from the professor on the topic proposal. He liked my idea on raising awareness and wanted me to think of what I wanted to reveal and who can be helped in the outcome. Originally, I had planned to talk to Anne, Kirakosayan, who is a workforce coordinator for the Work force building on Jamaica Avenue. She at first was giving me the run around and then went on vacation, so I never got in touch with her. I decided to then focus on what can be done to bring awareness and my own experiences being on the system.

I also wanted to interview more people at the Workforce people but was not able to because that place is very busy. On one instance, I went up there and a man was cursing one of the supervisors out for the government cutting off his benefits. He missed one of the mandatory meetings that track your progress. It is really a sit down with a counselor, and they ask you if you have been looking for a job, and they go over your resume. The building became very chaotic as everyone chimed in on the situation and had an opinion.

Despite, these obstacles, I can say that I have learned a lot from this project and topic. Researching the issue of unemployment produced some interesting statistics. According to the Bureau of Statistics, since September of 2008, the black unemployment rate has jumped from 11.2 % to 15.9% this year. In September of 2008, Hispanic unemployment stood at 7.6 %, but jumped to 12.2 % one year later. About 40% of black teens are unemployed, a rate that is 21.6 percentage points higher than white teens. I also learned about the recourses that people have to continue receiving unemployment benefits but it is really up to the public to get involved. There are many online testimonies and accounts of the hardships that people face on unemployment. Talking to people at the Church really put things into perspective and made it hit harder home.

If I had to do my project differently, I would have been more aggressive in looking for people to interview at the Work Force Building. It kind of discouraged me, when Anne continued to blow me off. My major flaw was my inability to get in contact with someone from the inside. Someone that can give a different perspective on the situation and shed light on an area that I may have overlooked. I wish that I would have mustered up the courage to talk to people that

were receiving benefits at the building. After, I saw the chaos with the man, I king of chickened out. Those people were getting really aggressive. I can understand because it is money that defines their existence in some cases. After watching CJ’s presentation I was also inspired to write my own letter to encourage anyone who is considering discontinuing unemployment benefits. It is not a feasible option and the government should focus on creating more jobs first.

To all those interested in knowing more about the issue, there are many options and resources available. I encourage everyone to go out and witness the community first hand. You can go to any workforce building or food pantry and see people who are just like you needing a hand. As in my presentation, please take action and signed the pledge at UNEMPLOYEDWORKERS.ORG.  Join the fight to get America working again!

of one elderly lady who only receives $25 a month. That is obviously not a lot of money and would not be able to feed any one nutritiously.

I talked to another woman Rosa who spoke very little English. I could barely understand her because her Spanish accent was so prominent. She also had two young children; they had to be under five, with her. Mrs. Stennett told me she said she had three other children and comes every week. She also told me she does not want her children to learn English first because she wants them to preserve their culture. This made me think of readings that we had in class, such as Jose Rizal’s Noli Mi Tangere and Noenoe Silva’s Aloha Betrayed, centered on the theme of preserving culture. You can tell how much the woman really loved her family and felt that was the way to protect them. This brings up the degree of assimilation and wanting to hold on to cultural ties. No one wants to lose the true essence of who you are, and for some people, that would be the case if they adopt a new language. It was really weird for me being there in a room mostly full of poverty. I felt connected, a bond with them because I had cultural ties. I felt connected but at the same time distant because we lead two different lives.

When Professor Lee, put us in groups, it was only me and Natalie that day. We talked about our projects; she was doing domestic violence and needed to narrow down her focus a bit more. She gave me great feedback on what I could do better and what handouts I should give. I also got great feedback from the professor on the topic proposal. He liked my idea on raising awareness and wanted me to think of what I wanted to reveal and who can be helped in the outcome. Originally, I had planned to talk to Anne, Kirakosayan, who is a workforce coordinator for the Work force building on Jamaica Avenue. She at first was giving me the run around and then went on vacation, so I never got in touch with her. I decided to then focus on what can be done to bring awareness and my own experiences being on the system.

I also wanted to interview more people at the Workforce people but was not able to because that place is very busy. On one instance, I went up there and a man was cursing one of the supervisors out for the government cutting off his benefits. He missed one of the mandatory meetings that track your progress. It is really a sit down with a counselor, and they ask you if you have been looking for a job, and they go over your resume. The building became very chaotic as everyone chimed in on the situation and had an opinion.

Despite, these obstacles, I can say that I have learned a lot from this project and topic. Researching the issue of unemployment produced some interesting statistics. According to the Bureau of Statistics, since September of 2008, the black unemployment rate has jumped from 11.2 % to 15.9% this year. In September of 2008, Hispanic unemployment stood at 7.6 %, but jumped to 12.2 % one year later. About 40% of black teens are unemployed, a rate that is 21.6 percentage points higher than white teens. I also learned about the recourses that people have to continue receiving unemployment benefits but it is really up to the public to get involved. There are many online testimonies and accounts of the hardships that people face on unemployment. Talking to people at the Church really put things into perspective and made it hit harder home.

If I had to do my project differently, I would have been more aggressive in looking for people to interview at the Work Force Building. It kind of discouraged me, when Anne continued to blow me off. My major flaw was my inability to get in contact with someone from the inside. Someone that can give a different perspective on the situation and shed light on an area that I may have overlooked. I wish that I would have mustered up the courage to talk to people that were receiving benefits at the building. After, I saw the chaos with the man, I king of chickened out. Those people were getting really aggressive. I can understand because it is money that defines their existence in some cases. After watching CJ’s presentation I was also inspired to write my own letter to encourage anyone who is considering discontinuing unemployment benefits. It is not a feasible option and the government should focus on creating more jobs first.

To all those interested in knowing more about the issue, there are many options and resources available. I encourage everyone to go out and witness the community first hand. You can go to any workforce building or food pantry and see people who are just like you needing a hand. As in my presentation, please take action and signed the pledge at UNEMPLOYEDWORKERS.ORG.  Join the fight to get America working again!

Works Cited:

www.labor.ny.gov/

www.surviveunemployment.com/

Money.cnn.com/Lifeonunemployment

Gawker.com/5072531/tales-from-the-unemployment-line

Book: “The labor Market in the Great Recession” by Michael Elsby (Spring 2010)

Personal interview with Andrew Berga.

Personal interview with Yvonne Stennett.


Unemployment Powerpoint

December 13, 2010

Goals for End of Semester

November 29, 2010

For the next two weeks, I plan of focusing on my final project. I am a little worried about it honestly because my sources are giving me the run around. You really have to stay on top of people or they will forget about you. I hope that my project comes off well thought out and simply that it makes sense. So that is what I am really focused on. I want to bring awareness to the many people that are unemployed because it is really hard to find a job. This economy does not seem to be getting any better. I do not have any questions as far the rest of the semester. I just hope to do well on the final exam and the class overall.


The Beverage for Discrimination

November 15, 2010

Lily runs into her mother’s arms after a long day at school. “Don’t wrinkle your dress” her mother says as she puts her down. Lily’s dress is ivory, frilly and has an almond colored sash around the waste. The sleeves are short and have embroidery details around it. It falls to her knees  while a matching almond bow is hidden in her hair. “What happened today at school” her mother asked. “Well, we practiced siting and eating like a lady and worked on handwriting.”

“Good. Gladys will bring you a treat.” Gladys is in the kitchen preparing a snack for Lily. She is a middle age black woman with a plaid scarf around her head. She wears a plaid button down dress with lace around the collar. Her white apron is pressed to perfection, as she a holds a  silver tray with a bottle of Coca cola and three short glasses. “Good afternoon Miss Lily”she says. “Good afternoon Gladys.”

She pours two glasses of coca cola and  hands one to her mother. Lily waits for Gladys to hand her the glass. She is very thirsty and coca cola is her favorite. It is the best drink in the world and she can’t imagine anything that tastes better. “This is the last bottle Miss Fisher. I reckon we also need some eggs.” Gladys says. “Yes go to the market, turn up that radio a bit. ” The broadcaster talked  of trouble in Europe and alliances. It was all foreign to Gladys.

Gladys takes Lily after she finishes her glass to the market. After a short walk, they enter a small store where coco cola bottles are lined up against the wall. Gladys puts four in her basket and gives the cashier 20 cents. They walk down the road and enter a barn where a young black boy is laying on top of hay. “We need a basket Tim” Gladys tells him. Tim runs to the back and reappears with a crochet basket with 5 eggs placed neatly inside. Gladys hands him three coins as he glances at the Coca Cola bottles long fully. His sad face is on the mind of Lily as they head home. “That negro looked sad, I think he wanted some Coca Cola, Lily told her. “Yes, but we are not allowed. He knows that. Don’t you worry your pretty little head with such matters.” she assured her.


Personification

November 9, 2010

Mr. Man has decided that tax cuts be extended to the rich people, who have more money than I can ever dram of. I am not mad, angry or surprised. I am simply tired. I am tired of working 45 hours a week and not being compensated over time. I am tired of my boss overlooking me when promotions come around even though I have the most experience out of all his employees. I am tired of my children’s father bailing on my kids every other weekend and them not knowing their father. Where is my tax break? I have a mortgage and bills that will never stop coming. Bill collectors never stop calling, but why should they? They are at work.

Money makes the world go ’round. We all know and accept it. But I cant help to think how I became “underprivileged”. There is an imaginary line called privileged and somehow I have always been under it. I will never earn $250,000 a year. I have been working at this job for 15 years and I am way under $100,000. “The rich gets richer and the poorer gets poorer.” Ain’t that the truth.

Now that Mr. B is in charge what will our future hold? What will be the future of this country? Will there be a tax break for the whole country and not just the wealthy? I honestly don’t know, only time will tell. We will just have to wait and see, wont we?


Project Progress

November 9, 2010

Unfortunately, I have not made much progress in my final project. I have tried to reach out to a few people at the Unemployment Offices located on Jamaica Ave, but I have been put on hold or my phone calls have not been returned. I anticipated this so I am not deterred at all. I have visited a food pantry which is run by a Baptist church located on South Road, Jamaica Queens. I have talked to Elizabeth Wallace who runs the pantry and talked to a few helpers. The food id given out on Wednesday morning and Friday morning beginning at 7 a.m. It is really heartbreaking to see so many people on line( the line wrapped around the corner) many people with young children with them. Mrs. Wallace told me that some people have lost their jobs that come to pick up the canned goods that they provide. I plan on going back this week to gather comments from a few people who benefit from these services. I hope to really gain an insight on what being unemployed really is like when you have to feed your family and bills are piling up.

I also plan to interview a man that I met catching a cab on Saturday night. I will not mention his name but his story will be very beneficial to my project and can make you count your everyday blessings as you complain about the smallest things.


I apologize

November 8, 2010

I apologize for being a woman in this time and place.

I apologize for going at a different pace.

I apologize for thinking my wants are my needs.

I apologize for wanting to be weak in the knees.

I apologize for wanting to be held at night.

I apologize for wanting a strong man in my life.

I apologize for wanting to be kissed just right.

I apologize for having dreams of being a good wife.

I’m so sorry that I want you to stay.

Tired of sending you on your way.

I’m sorry for not showing true feelings toward you.

I’m sorry you think I’m a b****, in my defense, you forced me too.

I apologize for wanting a man to rub my headache away.

I apologize for wanting to help you on your stressful days.

I apologize for thinking about what a future would be like for us.

I apologize for wanting someone to share my dreams with.

I apologize for wanting to be someones gift.

I just apologize for wanting to be with you.

I apologize for not wanting to be  baby mama #2

I’m so sorry for being a woman in this time and place.

One day I might land in a place where my needs and wants wont warrant an apology.

Ill find someone to want me: simply for being me.

But until then, I’m sorry.


Unemployment

October 6, 2010

Unemployment

The past recession has hit the labor market especially hard. Over the course of the recession, the U.S. economy shrank by 4.15 percent. A total of 8.3 million jobs were lost, and the unemployment rate rose 4.7 percent to a peak of 10.1 percent in late 2009. Currently, more than 14.5 million people are officially unemployed and many are underemployed. More striking is the length of time that people remain unemployed. Unemployed workers stay out of work for 34 weeks on average now, about 50 percent longer than previous unemployment cycles.

These large affects on the shock of the labor market raise the question on how unemployment is likely to evolve during the recovery and the long run. I also would like to expose life on unemployment.

Concerns:

I want to focus on the negative impact of long-term unemployment on the workforce. Longer unemployment durations are a problem because unemployed workers who are unemployed for too long lose job- specific- skills. Losing skills can reduce their odds of finding a job during recovery.

Many signs point to a relatively slow adjustment for the labor market: the negative effects of the large pool of long term unemployed (due to skill loss), low demand for labor, as measured by job vacancies and openings and a relatively large pool of underemployed in the form of part time workers due to economic slack.

The obstacles are language barriers. Many people that come to the workforce center speak little English and some do not have cell phones or house phones because of their benefits were terminated. I will also mention how easy it is for the government to terminate your benefits and the three week grace period for it to be reinstated. You can imagine how hazardous that can be.

I will interview Jennifer Warsen of the Department of Labor Division of Employment and Workforce Solutions office. I will also interview family friends that are on unemployment into what their day-to-day struggle is.

Works Cited:

Book: “The Labor Market in the Great Recession” by Michael Elsby (Spring 2010)

www.labor.ny.gov/

www.surviveunemployment.com/

Money.cnn.com/Lifeonunemployment

Gawker.com/5072531/ tales-from-the-unemployment-line


Resistance Literature

September 28, 2010

 I think that Resistance Literature is used to express feelings agiainst oppressors and colonizers. This can be directly or indirectly. It is basically standing up for what you believe in and going against the norm. It is going against your culture by staying true to who you are and also holding on to past values.  This will reflect a certain nostalgia from that will help stand up to that colonizing power.By one person standing up for what is right, it will make all the difference.

Resistance Literature needs to bring change in one society. It is a form of protest to bring change, especially to those that feel they have no voice at all. It is also a means of empowerment to hold on to your own values and not be affected by outside influences. This type of literature is very important. Through writing,  voices are being heard and actions are followed through. It is a response to the aggressor and the oppressor while defending the people.

I think Resistance Literature is Uncle Tom’s Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird. They are stories that have a strong message and the reader takes something powerful away with it.


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